Week by Week

Is Your Toddler Drinking Too Much Milk?


Known for its richness in calcium and diversity of various nutritional sources such as protein, carbohydrates, fat and vitamins – it would be no exaggeration to say milk is one of the best drink on the planet. With that’s being said, what could possibly be the harm of consuming too much milk?

Risks of overfeeding milk to your toddler

Here are 4 reasons why drinking too much milk can be just as bad as drinking too little:

Overweight and obesity

According to a 3-year study following school-aged children, those who were given 3 or more glasses of milk daily ended up being much heavier than those who drank a lower amount. The study suggests that not only does increased milk consumption – whether it is skimmed or full fat – not associated with weight control, but it may even be associated with childhood obesity. It has been proven that although there is no link between weight gain and dairy fat, the calcium content presented in dairy products can actually promote weight gain.

Iron deficiency and anemia
Presented plenty in milk, calcium is one of the greatest inhibitors of iron production and absorption. Various studies have suggested that children’s levels of iron slip drastically after consuming milk excessively. Moreover, as milk is a high energy drink that promotes long-term fullness, children having too much milk are so filled up that they don’t want to eat any other type of food. The lack of iron impedes the blood production and the oxygen transmission, which greatly interfere with children’s cognitive performance and development. Prolonged iron deficiency leads to anemia, a condition that poses various health dangers such as overall physical weakness, concentration difficulty, chest pain, low blood pressure, and the increased vulnerability to infections.

Frequent and prolonged consumption of high energy but low fiber foods such as milk can lead to constipation or delayed bowel movements due to the lack of fiber intake – a crucial component for normal and healthy bowel movements for people of all ages. Kids having too much milk are often too full to eat any other fiber- rich foods after drinking. It is also believed that the pasteurization or UHT (Ultra High Temperature) procedure has destroyed all the enzymes needed for the milk to be properly digested in the body.

Lactose intolerance and allergies
The amount of milk a toddler can handle depends vastly on how much lactose he or she can produce. So, while some can gulp down a few glasses of milk per day, a few sips of milk may already have been too much for some toddlers. Signs of lactose intolerance include abdominal cramps, bloating and diarrhea while milk protein allergy carries more severe signs such as vomiting, hives, wheezing or even anaphylaxis – a medical emergency in which the breathing pathway is partly or completely blocked.

Milk consumption: How much is too much?

A study funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation looked at 1311 healthy Toronto children within the age range of 2 to 5 years old. After examining levels of vitamin D and iron in their blood samples as well as observing the amount of milk the kids drank daily, researchers have all come to the conclusion that 500 milliliters should be the recommended daily milk intake for most children to have adequate levels of iron and vitamin D. It has also been stated that no kids should drink more than 700 ml of milk per day.

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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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